Will offices re-open and be COVID-19 secure?

Date: 17th Jun 2020

Over the past few weeks, many FM providers have been pre-empting new guidelines, and publishing their own advice on how to get your workplace COVID-19 secure, including  Mitie and  Atalian Servest.

The government consulted approximately 250 stakeholders in preparing some guidance. It was been developed with input from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The guidance covers eight workplace settings which are allowed to be open:

  1. Outdoor working environments.
  2. Factories, plants and warehouses
  3. Labs and research facilities
  4. Offices and contact centres
  5. Other people's homes
  6. Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
  7. Shops and branches
  8. Vehicles 

However, many workplaces remain largely deserted because of the request from the Government to work from home if at all possible, and so far, there has been no change in that guidance from Boris Johnson.

Some firms have already talked about downsizing their offices permanently, which could have a knock on effect for the wider economy, with restaurants, takeaways and other shops depending on office workers for business, as well as property firms that own office space.

Hygiene in the workplace

Top of the back to agenda will be hygiene and maintenance of cleaning standards in the workplace that will now take on a new stringency, with an emphasis on touchpoint cleaning, hand hygiene and workspace disinfection. 

Ventilation is also highlighted as a key step before reopening, with the advice being to open windows and doors frequently. 

Reducing the transmission through contact with objects that come into the workplace and vehicles at the worksite is also given its own set of rules, including introducing cleaning procedures for goods and merchandise entering sites.

Restricting non-business deliveries, for example, personal deliveries to workers is also cited as consideration.


References: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19


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